NEWS

Mounties need more protection after St. Albert shootings, says Kash Heed

01/19/2015 10:32 EST | Updated 03/21/2015 05:59 EDT
The shooting of RCMP officers Derek Bond and David Wynn in St. Albert, Alta., highlights the need for more protection for Mounties, according to B.C.'s former solicitor general.

“We need to outfit our police officers, give them the tactics, give them the training … to ensure they go home each and every day,” said Kash Heed, also a former chief of the West Vancouver Police Department.

Aux. Const. Bond and Const. Wynn were injured while trying to arrest a man in a casino early Saturday morning.

Bond, who was hit in the arm and the torso, was released from hospital later Saturday. Wynn was shot in the head and is not expected to survive, according to RCMP.

RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson insisted that it was impossible to predict what the officers faced when they entered the casino, and argued the shooting was not due to a failure of training or equipment.

“They had no idea who this person was — none whatsoever,” he said Sunday.

“There is no way we could expect these officers would know the kind of threat that was walking around inside that casino."

RCMP say the shooting took place over a few seconds and that neither officer was able to return fire.

Paulson questioned how gunman Shawn Maxwell Rehn was free and able to get a firearm —​ Rhen had a “complex criminal history, according to Paulson, and was under a lifetime ban from possessing firearms.

However, Heed said there is an “alarming trend” of people being more willing to use violence to escape arrest, and that the RCMP should be prepared to face it.

“That’s changed because of the propensity of violence that’s occurring in our world now.”

Bond not armed during arrest

Heed also questioned the use of auxiliary officers in the RCMP.

As an auxiliary officer, Bond was not carrying a firearm during the arrest, although he would have had pepper spray and a baton.

Auxiliary officers are used in some part of the country, and perform ride-alongs and community policing. Heed said some city police forces, including Vancouver, moved away from using similar reserve officers because of safety and union concerns.

“[They are] expected to respond as regular officers and not having the training of regular officers.”

When Vancouver did use reserve officers, they were armed, he said.

Heed believes the RCMP still lags behind many other police forces in Canada and elsewhere when it comes to equipment and training. He pointed to the recent report into the killings of three Mounties in Moncton that recommended better training and equipment for officers.

Heed said some of the recommendations, such as encrypted radio transmissions and carbine rifles, were put in place in municipal police forces a decade ago.

“That was kind of concerning when we’re talking a national force that puts itself out as one of the best police forces in the world,” he said.

“I’m not sure we know how to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, or that there’s the will to put together all the pieces of the puzzle.”

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